My Trip to Germany, Austria and Switzerland was an unforgettable experience

mcherwood By mcherwood, 6th Jul 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Travel>Europe>Germany>Bavaria

It was a rare treat to visit the major cities in three European countries which have thousands of years of history and structures that still exist from their earliest years.

My Trip to Germany, Austria and Switzerland was an unforgettable experience

In 1999, I visited Germany, Austria and Switzerland on a tour with some of my friends. The tour was sponsored by a church group and it was a pleasant surprise to find that two very old friends from my younger days were on the trip also.

Our first stop on the tour was in Zurich, Switzerland where we met our English-speaking guide. We subsequently had a walking tour of Old Town in Luzerne and were able to experience a group playing the Swiss horn, a musical instrument which is about eight feet long and is very popular in the Switzerland Alps. I had my first view of the "Smart Car" in Luzerne which was very fashionable in Europe before it was introduced to the United States.

I can only present highlights of our tour since we saw many sites very swiftly. Heidelberg, Germany was one of my favorite visits where we toured the Heidelberg Castle and had dinner at a restaurant in the Black Forest. The Black Forest is famous for its cuckoo clocks and several of our tour mates purchased a cuckoo clock to send back home.

A cruise down the Rhine River was a highlight of the trip also, on which many of our fellow tourists partook of the famous German beers available in the region, even though it was only 10 a.m. Castles abound on the landscape along the river where grape arbors could be seen in the distance.

Rothenburg, Germany was a quaint little town which had a Doll and Toy Museum, a Christmas Museum, and some of us visited the Medieval Crime and Punishment Museum which housed instruments of punishment and torture, even an iron cage. Picturesque Rothenburg was used as the setting for the movie "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" in 1968. Of course, Munich was a highlight of our trip since we were there during Octoberfest.

The concentration camp at Dachau was a solemn visit for us. It is hard to believe that the German government allows it to stand as a tourist attraction.

On our way to Innsbruck, Austria we were treated to a view of King Ludwig II's Castle at Neuschwanstein. It is easy to see why this castle is the model for the Cinderella Castle in Disneyworld in Orlando, Florida and the Sleeping Beauty Castle in Disneyland in Anaheim, California. A carriage ride up the hill allowed us to see the inside of the castle which of course seemed cold and damp.

It was exciting to visit Innsbruck, Austria. The word Innsbruck means "the bridge over the inn." It is the site of Innsbruck University where many Catholic priests have studied during their seminary days. And then we went on to Salzburg which is the home of Amadeus Mozart and also the concert hall where Mozart made his musical debut at age 7. We also had occasion to stand on the steps where the cast of "The Sound of Music" performed "Do Re Mi."

So many things to see - a ride down the Danube River, a visit to the Schoenbrunn Palace, lunch in Vienna, and a surprise overnight visit to Helsinki, Finland which was not originally on the tour's schedule. It was found that the trip home would be shorter by going through Helsinki rather than to go back to Switzerland for our flight home. A bus tour of Helsinki, a visit to an oceanside marketplace as well as a sauna (saunas originated in Finland) were a pleasant bonus before we boarded our plane.

Looking through my trip album and writing about this excursion has brought back many memories. I hope you enjoyed the virtual tour as much as I have.

Sources:

Personal experience

Tags

Austria, Germany, King Ludwigs Castle, Octoberfest, Switzerland

Meet the author

author avatar mcherwood
I am a retired teacher/ administrator for the Buffalo School System. I hold a Ph.D. in Educational Administration.
I write book reviews, film reviews plus a large variety of topics.

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Comments

author avatar Mark Gordon Brown
7th Jul 2013 (#)

I have never been to Germany, Switzerland, or Austria. Sounds great. I hope you can soon share your photos with us of your trip.

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